FSU student ensembles earn national recognition
Two chamber music groups from The Florida State University College of Music have been making headlines for their success at competitions across the nation:
Drawing its name from the Seminole (Creek) word for sound or call, chamber music group “enhakē” – FSU students Wonkak Kim (clarinet), M. Brent Williams (violin), Eun-Hee Park (piano), and Jayoung Kim (cello) – has been called “frighteningly good” (Tallahassee Democrat) and “invigorating” (WFSQ’s Nuances) by local media, accolades thoroughly underscored by numerous national competition successes.
Formed at The Florida State University in 2007, enhakē has made good time and again on its mission to “bring sublime chamber music to its audience with a sincere respect and love for the score.” In the two years since its inception, the group has collected an impressive array of recognitions, including the Grand Prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition (2009), Gold Medal at the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition (2008), Judges’ Special Recognition Award at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition (2008), and the James and Lola Faust Chamber Music Scholarship (2009). enhakē has also received the American Composers Forum’s Encore grant and FSU’s Musical Associate grants in recognition for their dedicated efforts.
Collectively known as the Mana Quartet, the four FSU students who comprise the graduate ensemble – Josh Meyers, Michael Hernandez , Michael Mortarotti, and Dannel Espinoza – have recently won the grand prize at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, a competition held annually by the California Institute of Technology. This competition, one of the world's most rigorous and respected for ensembles of young, non-professional performers, draws competitors from top music schools across the United States.
Making this victory even sweeter for Mana is the fact that they are the first saxophone quartet ever to win the top award in the 63-year history of the contest. The students credit their success to mentor Patrick Meighan, Professor of Saxophone at FSU. "His expertise in the field of chamber music cannot be overstated," they said. "From his work with his own Trio Bel Canto and the Raschèr Saxophone Orchestra to his continuous contribution to the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, which contains three FSU graduates and is one of Europe's premiere chamber ensembles, Patrick is an invaluable proponent of chamber music."
Florida State College of Music Dean Don Gibson calls the Coleman Competition grand prize a "world-class accomplishment, equal to the best accolade Florida State students have achieved."